Literature: Rate and Discuss

Discussion in 'Literature, Films, Music, and Comics' started by Asknoone, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    Essentially the same situation here. When I think about it now I doubt if I could read through a whole book, with the possible exception of the seventh. Eejit is a whiner though. It's not brilliant or anything, but the fantasy world is pretty enjoyable and charming.
     
  2. Eejit

    Eejit The Freeman

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    Eh maybe because at the age many of you were reading the Harry Potter books I was reading His Dark Materials, Dianna Wynne Jones books, Discworld books etc. J.K.'s stuff is so much more pedestrian, poorly written and unimaginative by comparison.
     
  3. 15357

    15357 Companion Cube

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    Well, anything to recommend? :E


    Since I don't have to go to school during the summer anymore, I could use something to read.

    Currently reading Machiavelli's The Prince, btw. The man seems like a cool guy, in an evil twisted sort of way.
     
  4. Eejit

    Eejit The Freeman

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    If you haven't yet definitely try His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass. Though be warned - there is some rebellion against Authority :eek:
     
  5. 15357

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    Wait, is this the series that the movie "The Golden Compass" was based off of?


    Because that movie was terrible.

    But still, I'll take your word for it. :p
     
  6. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    Don't judge the book by the movie.

    I never finished His Dark Materials. I was reading it while I was in college, and took too long between The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. And then I foolishly lent Northern Lights to a girl I was seeing and never got it back. So now I need to get another copy of the trilogy and start it all over again. It was quite wonderful from what I read though.
     
  7. Eejit

    Eejit The Freeman

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    The movie didn't work because it's a damn tough book to adapt imo without making it 3 or 4 hours or longer.
     
  8. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    It also doesn't help that the screenwriter / director is a complete knob.
     
  9. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I'm still wrapping up the Hitchhiker's Guide books (which are marvelous as always), but yesterday took a break with something different and read the first of the DeathNote Mangas. Has anyone here read the rest of them? I enjoyed it, but is the entire series worth reading?
     
  10. Sheepo

    Sheepo The Freeman

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    Fight Club 7.5/10

    Very interesting read. The plot is virtually identical to the movie's (except the very end) but the sequence of events is more... sporadic. The atmosphere of a spiraling downfall of paranoia, violence, power, and chaos is much easier to get into through the insane repetitions of ideas, juxtaposed events, and stream of consciousness. I read the afterword and the writer sounds really ****ing full of himself though.


    Used FC as a break from the rather large Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Treasury, which has a couple pretty great short stories, probably the best of which being Who Goes There?, the story The Thing is based off of. I just recently bought the Hitchhiker's Guide for the hell of it, because Kindle books are hella cheap and you guys have good taste.
     
  11. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. holy****yes/10.

    The first three were absolutely amazing, some of the most amusement I've ever had while reading, if not the most. Excellent characters, and a really fantastic style and way of being told. Unique is definitely the word. I very much enjoyed them.

    Though I have to say, I really didn't care much for So Long and Thanks for All the Fish and Mostly Harmless. So Long mostly had the problem of just being completely rambling with nothing actually explained or happening. Earth seems to have randomly rematerialised, and Arthur falls in love, which is nice and all, but then Douglas kills the girl off in a single line in Mostly Harmless - a book which mostly follows Trillian, the most boring character of the entire series. And while Ford Prefect (and Dent for that matter) are wonderful as always, the last two books also distinctly lack Zaphod, and that's just not okay.
     
  12. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    Make it Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. It's a piece of literary genius, written with such enthusiasm and wit - the pages literally sparkle with life, which is incredible given the conditions under which Bulgakov wrote it. No amount of oppression or tyranny will suppress human expression, and this is proof of it. Also, the Devil parading through Moscow, and having a war of words with Matthew Levi. Do you need more?

    Check out Bulgakov's A Dog's Heart: An Appalling Story too. I'd put Bulgakov ahead of Dostoyevsky as my favourite Russian author, but I'm chewing into Anna Karenina at the moment, and Tolstoy is jostling for top spot. It's very, very good.

    His Dark Materials is a stupendous fantasy epic, and it's a favourite of mine. I read it once every year or so. A cosmic war against the Authority, spanning multiple parallel worlds, fought with truth, innocence and love.
     
  13. Polaris

    Polaris Spy

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    Absolutely, best fantasy series ever. Oh, and this september I'm going to see Oxford! The Botanic Garden is definitely on my visit list.
     
  14. Sulkdodds

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    Psst, it's a little unimpressive. :>

    Nah it's quite nice. See if you can find the window on the corner of Percy Street and Iffley Road, though.

    Goddamnit, I will never understand why they went for a movie instead of a joint HBO-BBC miniseries.
     
  15. Viperidae

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    I wouldn't say it's the best ever. That's going a little overboard. Pullman's writing certainly isn't on par with Tolkien's. Plus, the whole 'I must do an anti-Lewis series' is kind of baffling.

    That's not to say I didn't enjoyed it immensely.
     
  16. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I very, very strongly disagree. I find Pullman's writing far more enjoyable than Tolkien's.
     
  17. Polaris

    Polaris Spy

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    Tolkien's saga is only more complex and rich in mythology. For me His Dark Materials books are more interesting works with references to Christianity, many other religions, classics of English literature and simply celebration of the best human values...

    Anti-Lewis series thing is indeed baffling. Narnia doesn't even deserve reaction.
     
  18. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    Well, it obviously had a profound affect on Pullman.
     
  19. Sulkdodds

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    Maybe it's a British thing, but I think almost everyone over a certain age (and plenty under it) have read the Narnia books. My parents read them, my methodist friend read them, her parents read them, I tried to read them and got bored...they are, or were, a standard text of English childhood. That's presumably why he felt the need to engage with them specifically. After all, childhood is what he's waging his war for.
     
  20. Viperidae

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    Affect

    –noun
    4.
    Psychology . feeling or emotion.


    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    There were others aside from Paradise Lost?
     
  21. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    You're going in my suicide note.
     
  22. Sulkdodds

    Sulkdodds Companion Cube

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    A lot of Blake, including his bizarro mythology that nobody reads, and Emily Dickinson. Few others as well I think.

    A horrible thing discovered about Emily Dickinson is that you can read almost any of her poems to the tune of 'yankee doodle'. Because I could not stop for death, he kindly stopped for me-ee...
     
  23. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    SON OF A BITCH. RUINED.
     
  24. Viperidae

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    Ooook then.
     
  25. Sulkdodds

    Sulkdodds Companion Cube

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    Well, if you want to be pedantic about 'English' or overzealous about 'classic'. :>

    EDIT: What I mean when I say 'pedantic' is that the phrase 'English Literature' is frequently used to describe a literature course in the Americas too, where 'literature' courses are more often called 'English' courses, and that it is otherwise used interchangeably with 'the Western Canon'.
     
  26. Viperidae

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    I was referring to canon. I don't think the entire works of Dickinson/Blake are considered 'classics.' Yes, I'm being pedantic, because it's like saying that all of Shakespeare's opus is classic. Sure, all of his works are scrutinised and loved, but that doesn't mean that every Sonnet is a landmark, nor that every single Henry play is particularly memorable.
     
  27. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    Anna Karenina is amazing, I read it last semester and was floored by how good it was. For the record I thought it was a much more coherent and rewarding piece of literature than War and Peace although that is a great book in its own right.

    I also have Heart of a Dog (which is the name of the translation my ex-Soviet ethnic Russian professor assigned for the class I dropped before we got to reading it) but haven't checked it out yet. It looks a lot more digestible than Master and Margarita given my summer free time so I might check that out first. Your commentary on the latter seems to be in line with what other people have said (SA members and my dad, primarily) so I'll definitely read that asap though.

    I'm so glad you read these, I've loved these books since I first read them when I was 10 and I wish I had never read them so I could have the sublime pleasure of reading them for the first time again. I mostly agree with you about the last two books although by no means do I not love them with all of my heart - I just love them less than the others.

    One thing I will say though - the end of Mostly Harmless made my hair stand on end. I thought it was excellent. Primarily due to
    Ford Prefect laughing maniacally as the world ends. I just thought that was the most beautifully perfect thing ever. It might just be because of the huge emotional attachment I have to all the characters though. Also I agree about not enough Zaphod.

    One of my favorite segments in the whole series is in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, the bit about Rob McKenna, the Rain God:
    I just think that quote and the whole passage before it (not quoted) absolutely exemplifies why he's such a goddamn comic genius of a writer.
     
  28. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    Basically, yes.

    Omg I know. That man is insane.

    Yes, I love that bit too. Douglas's writing style is simply wonderful.
     
  29. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    Have you (or anyone else) read Eoin Colfer's sixth HHGTTG book? I just looked it up and apparently it was published in late 2009, I hadn't heard a thing about it since it was announced a few years ago though. I'm honestly not too interested in reading it since it'd have to be even better than Adams' writing for me to be able to accept it, but if someone has read it and thinks its worthwhile I could be convinced to reconsider.
     
  30. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    Eoin Colfer - Artemis Fowl? Those books amused me as a child.
     
  31. Eejit

    Eejit The Freeman

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    That just isn't right.
     
  32. Ennui

    Ennui The Freeman

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    Yep, same guy. I vaguely remember reading the first two or so books in the Artemis Fowl series but I was already a little old for them I think when they came out, or at least it felt that way. He's a decent writer but I certainly don't think he's remotely approaching Douglas Adams caliber.
     
  33. Polaris

    Polaris Spy

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    What about The [strike]Samon [/strike] Salmon of Doubt? Anyone read this?
     
  34. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    I haven't read it and have no interest in it. I don't know Colfer's other works, but still, even him working with Adams' widow, it just doesn't interest me. I don't feel like Adams can be replaced.

    Plus, you know, all of the characters died and the world ended at the conclusion of the last one. The Wikipedia page on the series that explains how the sixth book occurs is enough to turn me off to reading it.
     
  35. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    Hey have any of you kids read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"? I'm thinking of picking up a copy and writing an essay on it for a shot at a great scholarship.
     
  36. Viperidae

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    Waste of time.
     
  37. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    But... free money.
     
  38. Viperidae

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    Oh, by all means, get the scholarship. I mean as a piece of writing, it's barely veiled political dogma.
     
  39. Yorick

    Yorick Guest

    That sounds boring, is it boring?
     
  40. Asknoone

    Asknoone Newbie

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    Perhaps you should read it and find out?
     

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